Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Oregon

Date: September 2023

Guiding Principles

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 107.137(1)

In determining the custody of a minor child, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child.

Best Interests Factors

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 107.137(1); 419B.612 

In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors:

  • The emotional ties between the child and other family members
  • The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child
  • The desirability of continuing an existing relationship
  • The abuse of one parent by the other
  • The preference of the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child 

In a child custody proceeding involving an Indian child, when deciding the best interests of the child under State law, the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act, or any regulations or rules related to these laws, the court shall, in consultation with the Indian child's Tribe, consider the following:

  • The protection of the safety, well-being, development, and stability of the Indian child
  • The prevention of unnecessary out-of-home placement of the Indian child
  • The prioritization of placement of the Indian child in accordance with the placement preferences under § 419B.654
  • The value to the Indian child of establishing, developing, or maintaining a political, cultural, social, and spiritual relationship with the Indian child's Tribe and Tribal community
  • The importance to the Indian child of the Indian Tribe's ability to maintain the Tribe's existence and integrity in promotion of the stability and security of Indian children and families

Other Considerations

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 107.137(1)

The court may not consider such willingness and ability if one parent shows that the other parent has sexually assaulted or engaged in a pattern of behavior of abuse against the parent or a child and that a continuing relationship with the other parent will endanger the health or safety of either parent or the child.